Part 3

Deployment Pipeline

Let's setup a deployment pipeline using GitHub actions. We just need something to deploy so let's create a new website.

Create a Dockerfile with the following contents:

FROM nginx:1.19-alpine

COPY index.html /usr/share/nginx/html

and add index.html with the following content

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <body style="background-color: gray;">
    <p>
      Content
    </p>
  </body>
</html>

Let's make sure that everything works by doing docker build . -t colorcontent && docker run -p 3000:80 colorcontent to build and run it and then accessing it through http://localhost:3000. Next is the addition of manifests for our website.

manifests/service.yaml

apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
metadata:
  name: dwk-environments-svc
spec:
  type: LoadBalancer
  selector:
    app: dwk-environments
  ports:
    - port: 80
      protocol: TCP
      targetPort: 80

manifests/deployment.yaml

apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
metadata:
  name: dwk-environments
spec:
  replicas: 1
  selector:
    matchLabels:
      app: dwk-environments
  template:
    metadata:
      labels:
        app: dwk-environments
    spec:
      containers:
        - name: dwk-environments
          image: jakousa/colorcontent

Next, to test our manifests deploy this into our cluster. Above I had pushed the built image using docker push.

$ kubectl apply -f manifests/service.yaml
$ kubectl apply -f manifests/deployment.yaml

Kustomize

Applying multiple files like this gets bothersome. We can of course point it at a directory like so: kubectl apply -f manifests/, but this is an excellent moment to turn our attention to Kustomize.

Kustomize is a tool that helps with configuration customization and is baked into kubectl. In this case we'll use it to define which files are meaningful for Kubernetes. Alternatively, we could use Helm and maybe Helmsman, but we will leave that outside of the context of this course.

For us a new file kustomization.yaml in the root of the project will work. The kustomization.yaml should include instructions to use the deployment.yaml and service.yaml.

kustomization.yaml

apiVersion: kustomize.config.k8s.io/v1beta1
kind: Kustomization
resources:
  - manifests/deployment.yaml
  - manifests/service.yaml

Now we can deploy this using the -k flag identifying that we want to use Kustomize.

$ kubectl apply -k .

We can preview the file with kubectl kustomize .. Kustomize will be an essential tool for our deployment pipeline. It'll allow us to individually choose which image to use. For this let's declare the image inside the kustomization.yaml.

kustomization.yaml

# ...
images:
  - name: PROJECT/IMAGE
    newName: jakousa/colorcontent

This will replace the image "IMAGE:TAG" with the one defined in newName. Next setting a placeholder value inside the deployment.yaml for the image:

deployment.yaml

# ...
containers:
  - name: dwk-environments
    image: PROJECT/IMAGE

Test that everything works

$ kubectl kustomize .
  ...
    spec:
      containers:
      - image: jakousa/colorcontent
        name: dwk-environments

Kustomize has a few additional tools you can test out if you want to install it - but we'll see the usage in the next section.

Github Actions

GitHub Actions will be the CI/CD tool of choice for this course. Google also offers Cloud Build, and a step-by-step guide to deploying to GKE with it. You can return here to implement deployment with Cloud Build if you have credits left over after the course!

Create a file .github/workflows/main.yaml. We'll want the workflow to do 3 things:

  • build the image
  • publish the image to a container registry
  • deploy the new image to our cluster

The initial config will look something like this:

main.yaml

name: Release application

on:
  push:

env:
  PROJECT_ID: ${{ secrets.GKE_PROJECT }}
  GKE_CLUSTER: dwk-cluster
  GKE_ZONE: europe-north1-b
  IMAGE: dwk-environments
  SERVICE: dwk-environments

We set the workflow to run whenever changes are pushed to the repository and set the environment variables accordingly - we'll need them later on.

Next is adding the jobs. For simplicity we'll add everything into a single job that'll build, publish and deploy.

# ...
jobs:
  build-publish-deploy:
    name: Build, Publish and Deploy
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest

    steps:
      - name: Checkout
        uses: actions/checkout@v4

This sets the environment for the job and triggers the checkout action as the first step.

Next we'll use some additional actions, mainly from google-github-actions that are designed to help on deployments to Google Cloud. We'll start with authenticaton, followed by setup:

# ...
  - uses: google-github-actions/auth@v2
    with:
      credentials_json: '${{ secrets.GKE_SA_KEY }}'

  - name: 'Set up Cloud SDK'
    uses: google-github-actions/setup-gcloud@v2

  - name: 'Use gcloud CLI'
    run: gcloud info

The secrets used in authentication are not from the environment variables but are included as environment secrets in the project GitHub:

ghasecret

Read their here more on GitHub secrets.

The GKE_SA_KEY is a service account key that is required to access the Google Cloud services - read the guide for it here. You will need to create a new service account and fetch its key.

Give these roles to your service account:

  • Kubernetes Engine Service Agent
  • Storage Admin
  • Artifact Registry Administrator
  • Artifact Registry Create-on-Push Repository Administrator

After creating a service account for GKE called "github-actions" I created the key using gcloud:

$ gcloud iam service-accounts keys create ./private-key.json --iam-account=github-actions@dwk-gke-331210.iam.gserviceaccount.com

The entire JSON generated needs to be added to GKE_SA_KEY.

Next, use gcloud commands to configure Docker.

# ...
  - run: gcloud --quiet auth configure-docker

This will enable us to push images to Google Container Registry, which we'll use instead of Docker Hub. We could use Docker Hub if we wanted to do so, but GCR is an excellent option now that we have access to it. GCR is a lot more performant and has a low network latency. Cutting down on the time we spend moving images around will ensure our deployments are quick. Read more about it here https://cloud.google.com/container-registry/. Note that the registry is not free and you'll probably want to delete the images from there during and after this course.

One more step is needed until we are ready to go, we still need to use action get-gke-credentials to get credentials to our Google Kubernetes cluster:

# ...
  - name: 'Get GKE credentials'
    uses: 'google-github-actions/get-gke-credentials@v2'
    with:
      cluster_name: '${{ env.GKE_CLUSTER }}'
      project_id: '${{ env.PROJECT_ID }}'
      location: '${{ env.GKE_ZONE }}'

And finally let's write out the desired image with a tag. The image will be gcr.io/PROJECT_ID/IMAGE:GITHUB_BRANCH-GITHUB_SHA. And building the image:

# ...
- name: Build
  run: |-
    docker build \
      --tag "gcr.io/$PROJECT_ID/$IMAGE:${GITHUB_REF#refs/heads/}-$GITHUB_SHA" \
      .

Publish similarily:

# ...
- name: Publish
  run: |-
    docker push "gcr.io/$PROJECT_ID/$IMAGE:${GITHUB_REF#refs/heads/}-$GITHUB_SHA"

Last step is the deployment. We'll setup Kustomize first:

# ...
- name: Set up Kustomize
  uses: imranismail/setup-kustomize@v2.1

Now we can use Kustomize to set the image we want the pipeline to publish. Here I pipe the output of kustomize build . to kubectl apply, if you are unsure what is happening you can output the kustomize build . and check what was built in the middle of the pipeline!

Finally we'll preview the rollout and confirm that the release was a success. Rollout will wait until the deployment has rolled out. Here we use the same name of the image, dwk-environments, as the deployment name so we can use the $IMAGE environment variable.

# ...
- name: Deploy
  run: |-
    kustomize edit set image PROJECT/IMAGE=gcr.io/$PROJECT_ID/$IMAGE:${GITHUB_REF#refs/heads/}-$GITHUB_SHA
    kustomize build . | kubectl apply -f -
    kubectl rollout status deployment $SERVICE
    kubectl get services -o wide

Separate environment for each branch

A quite popular choice when using a deployment pipeline is having a separate environment for every branch - especially when using feature branching.

Let's implement our own version of this. Let's extend the previously defined pipeline. Previously this was our final state:

main.yaml

name: Release application

on:
  push:

env:
  PROJECT_ID: ${{ secrets.GKE_PROJECT }}
  GKE_CLUSTER: dwk-cluster
  GKE_ZONE: europe-north1-b
  IMAGE: dwk-environments

jobs:
  setup-build-publish-deploy:
    name: Setup, Build, Publish, and Deploy
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest

    steps:
      - name: Checkout
        uses: actions/checkout@v2

      - name: Set up Cloud SDK
        uses: google-github-actions/setup-gcloud@v2
        with:
          project_id: ${{ secrets.GKE_PROJECT }}
          service_account_key: ${{ secrets.GKE_SA_KEY }}
          export_default_credentials: true

      # Configure Docker to use the gcloud command-line tool as a credential
      # helper for authentication
      - run: |-
          gcloud --quiet auth configure-docker
      # Get the GKE credentials so we can deploy to the cluster
      - run: |-
          gcloud container clusters get-credentials "$GKE_CLUSTER" --zone "$GKE_ZONE"
      # Build the Docker image
      - name: Build
        run: |-
          docker build \
            --tag "gcr.io/$PROJECT_ID/$IMAGE:${GITHUB_REF#refs/heads/}-$GITHUB_SHA" \
            .
      # Push the Docker image to Google Container Registry
      - name: Publish
        run: |-
          docker push "gcr.io/$PROJECT_ID/$IMAGE:${GITHUB_REF#refs/heads/}-$GITHUB_SHA"

      # Set up kustomize
      - name: Set up Kustomize
        uses: imranismail/setup-kustomize@v1

      # Deploy the Docker image to the GKE cluster
      - name: Deploy
        run: |-
          kustomize edit set image gcr.io/PROJECT_ID/IMAGE=gcr.io/$PROJECT_ID/$IMAGE:${GITHUB_REF#refs/heads/}-$GITHUB_SHA
          kustomize build . | kubectl apply -f -
          kubectl rollout status deployment $IMAGE
          kubectl get services -o wide

What we'll want to do is deploy each branch into a separate namespace so that each branch has its own separate environment. Kustomize has a method to set the namespace. ${GITHUBREF#refs/heads/}_ will be the branch name.

kustomize edit set namespace ${GITHUB_REF#refs/heads/}

But this will error as there's no namespace defined. So we need to add a creation of a namespace

kubectl create namespace ${GITHUB_REF#refs/heads/} || true

But since now we're namespaced the rollout status will fail. So let's set the namespace to be used

kubectl config set-context --current --namespace=${GITHUB_REF#refs/heads/}

So in the correct order and inside the Deploy:

- name: Deploy
  run: |-
    kubectl create namespace ${GITHUB_REF#refs/heads/} || true
    kubectl config set-context --current --namespace=${GITHUB_REF#refs/heads/}
    kustomize edit set namespace ${GITHUB_REF#refs/heads/}
    kustomize edit set image gcr.io/PROJECT_ID/IMAGE=gcr.io/$PROJECT_ID/$IMAGE:${GITHUB_REF#refs/heads/}-$GITHUB_SHA
    kubectl apply -k .
    kubectl rollout status deployment $IMAGE

To test this, edit the index.html and publish the changes to a new branch.

The next step would be to configure the domain names for each branch so that we'd have "www.example.com" as the production and e.g. "featx.example.com" as the featx branch. If you have any credits left after the course you can return here and implement it. Google Cloud DNS and this guide can get you started.

You have reached the end of this section! Continue to the next section: